Fiji Islands

Fiji Islands

Fiji is inspires visions of beaches, beautiful sunsets, great diving, and clear blue oceans.  This island nation of 300+ island is one of the biggest tropical destinations in the world. It’s a popular spot for backpackers and luxury tourists too. And with so many islands, you can easily get away from the crowds and find yourself your own tropical paradise.  Fiji is a cheap destination and an amazing tropical island to visit as it has everything you could ever want in a tropical paradise.

Quick Facts

Capital: Suva
Population: 827,900
Size: 376 sq. km (7,056 sq. mi.)
Power Outlets: 240V 50Hz
Official Languages: English, Fijian, Hindi
Currency: Fijian Dollar
Time Zone: GMT +12
Calling Code: +679

Weather:  The climate in Fiji is tropical and warm year round. The cyclones occur between November and January. The main tourist season is around May and June.

Cost and Budgeting
Since Fiji is a major tourist destination, it can be quiet expensive and it’s easy to spend money there. However, it’s also quite easy to visit on the cheap- Fiji caters to every budget. If you stick to hostels, eat cheap and local, and plan your inter-island travel well, you can get by on US$35 – US$50 a day. For higher end travel, plan to spend at least US$100 per day at the resorts. Inter-island travel can be quite expensive, especially to islands in the eastern part of the country.  Many of these islands require flights to get too.

Fiji History
The indigenous population of Fiji arrived many centuries before the first Europeans, who arrived in the seventeenth century.  It was not until the nineteenth century, however, that Europeans settled the islands permanently. In the 1860s, Fiji attracted settlers wanting to establish cotton plantations. Up until independence, the British ruled the island and brought a lot of indians to work the cotton plantations there.

In 1970, Fiji was granted independence. The 1987 coup saw the British monarchy replaced by a President and the country became the Republic of Fiji. After a coup in 2000, a Fijian-dominated administration was appointed to bring back democracy. Fiji’s High Court declared the military-installed government illegitimate, decreeing that the parliament ousted in May was the country’s governing authority. In December 2006, military leader Voreque Bainimarama led another coup and make himself the country’s leader. He is still in power.

Fiji Culture
Fiji’s culture is a mix of Polynesian, Indian, Chinese, and European traditions. Fiji is mostly made up of native Fijians, Europeans, and Indo-Fijians. Relationships between ethnic Fijians and others have often been very strained and the tension has dominated politics in the islands for the past generation, though the level of tension varies between different regions of the country.

Displays of “traditional” Fijian culture, music, and dancing make an important contribution to tourism; model villages and handicraft markets are popular with tourists. A traditional song-and-dance performance, the meke, is rooted in storytelling traditions. For tourists, you’ll be able to see all the great aspects of Polynesian culture and long about its long history on the islands.

Things to Do and See in Fiji
Scuba Dive/Snorkel- Like more tropical island nation, Fiji has excellent diving. Kadavu is one of Fiji’s favorite scuba diving sites with the Great Astrolabe Reef running right up the northeastern side of the island. Shark diving is also a popular activity here. If you don’t dive, the snorkeling here is generally fantastic with the clear waters offering fascinating windows into the undersea world.

Hiking- The more energetic can go trekking in the Nausori Highlands overlooking Nadi. Taveuni also offers good hiking in the Bouma National Heritage Parki. Work up a sweat in the dense island jungles and then cool off in a nearby waterfall or stream.
Kayaking- The island of Kadavu has some excellent sea kayaking opportunities.
Surfing- Fiji has excellent surfing. Many of the islands have some great waves. If you are a surfer, Fiji is an excellent destination to go to. If not, Fiji is an excellent destination to learn.

Sailing- Sailing vessels such as the schooners are a great way to see the protected Mamanuca Group, a group of coral islands that make paradise look even more perfect.

Learn the culture- Firewalking and traditional dancing accompany the Fijian feasts at island nights staged at the main resorts and are a great way to enjoy the nights after a quiet day on the beach.

Fiji Geography
The Fiji islands are a result of volcanic action, sedimentary deposit, and formations of coral. The main island, Viti Levu, has an area of about 4,000 square miles. The country of Fiji consists of 322 islands and 522 smaller islets. Many of the islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 4,250 ft, and covered with tropical forests. Most of the islands are volcanic in origin, and, like Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, are bound by coral reefs, offshore rocks, and shoals. All the islands receive the greatest amount of rainfall between November and March.